Friday, 18 October 2019

Wallowing - Planet Loss


Labels: Sludgelord Records/Black Voodoo Records/Astral Noize Records
Formats: LP/Tape/Digital
Release Date: 13 Sep 2019

Tracklist:

1. I. Prologue
2. II. Earthless
3. III. Phosgene
4. IV. Hail Creation
5. V. Vessel
6. VI. Epilogue

I've spoken many times before about my admiration for the scene that's contained within Brighton. my main introduction to it was through Headless Guru Records back in 2012 and while I've lost touch with it slightly, it's great to see more bands coming though from the South coast city. Wallowing formed in 2018 and after a demo, released in the same year, they released their debut full-length last month with amazing artwork from Luke Oram (Atomck, Let It Die, Monolithian and more). It was released on vinyl by Sludgelord Records/Black Voodoo Records and on specially crafted cassette via Astral Noize Records.

It’s feels so nice to get to this point in the week and sinking into some new music makes it even more worth the wait. Wallowing provides that new music thanks to their debut album “Planet Loss”. Opening track I. Prologue is an instrumental intro of sorts with samples and wailing feedback that drags you into II. Earthless. Unlike the band of its namesake, this song is heavy, sludgy and cavernous in delivery with no upbeat grooves or melodies. It crawls along with retching guitar riffs, feedback and percussion/harsh vocals that sit within the mix adding to the claustrophobia that you’ll feel while listening.

III. Phosgene was the band’s first demo release back in 2018 and it shows a faster side to Wallowing, with grinding passages and breakdown-like riffs. Its urgency is more obvious and there’s a level of technicality that shows they’re not just here to play loud, brutish music. It’s a journey all of itself. Hell  appears during IV. Hail Creation, which weaves post-metal, black metal and doom into one intimidating collage of sound.

They go for the long anticipation-building intro on V. Vessel, which is actually fantastic as it grows in both volume and musical layers. It’s a song of multiple movements. Experimental, progressive and even sometimes slightly improvisational (maybe), Wallowing pulls off something that won’t just appeal to sludge/doom purists, but to those who also like rock at its noisy best. Ending with VI. Epilogue in the way that the album began, calmness is restored but the chaos and dissonance is much missed. Wallowing’s debut full-length is really strong. It sets the standard for what comes next from them but something tells me that they’ll have no problem reaching and even beating it. 

You can stream and purchase "Planet Loss" digitally from Wallowing below:-




Physical copies can be purchased from these links:-


Wednesday, 16 October 2019

Great Cold Emptiness - St. Elm's Fire


Labels: Flowing Downward
Formats: Digital
Release Date: 07 Jul 2019

Tracklist:

1. St. Elm's Fire
2. The Weeping Stream

My brain needs a switch off. People seem to like making dramas out of needless things. Not sure why I thought funeral doom would help, but I'm willing to take a chance. This particular brand of funeral doom comes from US band Great Cold Emptiness, which used to be a solo-project but has now swollen to a quintet. The band began in 2015 and after releasing a demo, two EPs and two full-lengths (including 2019's "Death Gifted A Bouquet"), they're back with their newest two-song EP "St Elm's Fire", which feature outtakes from the recording session for the aforementioned album and has been released digitally by both the band and with the help of Flowing Downward. 

While the band’s ranks have swollen to a five-piece in recent times, this EP contains only two of those members and “St. Elm’s Fire” is a melodic and sometimes lo-fi take on avant-garde black metal/funeral doom. Cleanly sung vocals sit at the top of the mix on the title-track, backed up by black metal drumming and instrumentation that’s more shoegaze in nature. The harsh vocals mid-way through add some sinister atmospherics to the music, which is where the funeral doom elements start to come through.

Second song The Weeping Stream is slower in tempo and much more doom-like. That reminds about the new Dry Cough Records releases that I need to get on (sorry for mentioning a completely unrelated label in this review). That being said, if people reading this are familiar with that label then after listening to this song you’ll understand where I’m coming from. Great Cold Emptiness channel abject misery here but with a huge chunk of solace as well. The organ-like keys and growling black metal vocals during the song’s latter half make it a more haunting experience albeit only briefly. Once the keys are added to the full cacophony of sounds, there’s a pleasant warmth that washes over you. 

This is definitely an EP of two halves but one that works really well. In some parts abrasive and in others just beautiful, Great Cold Emptiness manage to weave light out of the individual strands of extreme music that make up their sound. This is another band worth exploring in its entirety.

You can stream and buy it digitally for a mere $2 from the band below:-



Great Cold Emptiness - https://www.facebook.com/gcedoom/

Monday, 14 October 2019

Meditations In Affinity #2 (Cultivation) - Nerver/...And It's Name Was Epyon/People's Temple Project/Apostles Of Eris


Labels: Akashita Corp/The Ghost Is Clear Records/Zegema Beach Records
Formats: Vinyl/Digital
Release Date: 15 May 2019(Digital)/TBA (Vinyl)

Tracklist:

1. Nerver - General Erosion Of Morale
2. ...And Its Name Was Epyon - Side Seven
3. People's Temple Project - 2:16
4. Apostles Of Eris - The Kobodera

This week has been a bit of a write-off, which sucks. This review has been in the works for a little while as well. It's the second four-way split 7" to come from The Ghost Is Clear Records and Zegema Beach Records, as well as Akashita Corp on this occasion. It's features US post-hardcore/screamo bands Nerver, ...And It's Name Way Epyon, People's Temple Project and Apostles Of Eris. There's more to come from this 7" series so keep your eyes peeled.

Splits like this have become a great resource for discovering new bands and you can’t get any newer than Nerver, as they’ve only really surfaced over the last few months. General Erosion Of Morale is a heavy slab of post-hardcore that seems to end far sooner than it should. Such a good song though, with heavy riffs, intense percussion and hoarse vox. …And Its Name Was Epyon is a different proposition with Side Seven. There are comparisons you could draw to this band, as their melodic and spoken-word vocals are familiar, though their heavier side is utterly brilliant and compliments their sound perfectly,

Naming your song after it’s length if pretty clever (I think so anyway) and People’s Temple Project does just that on 2:16, which is an angular and experimental piece of screamo. It’s pretty violent but also awesomely musical. It doesn’t last very long but that’s fine, as all of the best things are over before you realise. Apostles Of Eris is at least a familiar name to me and their song The Kobodera is as twinkly as it is intense. Melodic riffs go hand-in-hand with emo-violence and the song ends with a mix of both lo-fi and full-throttle screamo. 

These splits have turned out great so far. Their theme is perfect with each band has their own story to tell and their own take on things, I’ll try and get the other three reviewed as and when they’re released.

Stream the split below, where it's also available to grab digitally:-




Physical copies can be pre-ordered below:-

Zegema Beach Records US Store - http://zegemabeachrecords.storenvy.com/
Zegema Beach Records CAN/Intl Store - http://www.zegemabeachrecords.com/zegema-beach-releases

The Ghost Is Clear Records - https://www.facebook.com/TGICRECS/

Monday, 7 October 2019

Abysmalist - Reflections Of Horror


Labels: Caligari Records/Self-Released
Formats: Tape/Digital
Release Date: 23 Aug 2019

Tracklist:

1. Lascivious Rapture
2. Black Lacquer
3. The Engineer
4. Chain Ripper

Time for some ripping death metal played by dudes who also spend their time playing hardcore, thrash and crossover. In fact, there's a lot of cross-pollination happening right now with the likes of Power Trip, Gatecreeper and Scorched amongst those leading the way. Anyway, Californian duo Abysmalist had only just released their "Reflections Of Horror" demo digitally in August when Caligari Records followed it up with a tape release less than a month later. Let's get into this...

“Reflections Of Horror” kicks off with chugging riffs immediately on opener Lascivious Rapture, where the hardcore influence is there but subtle. There’s also that dirty and grimy undertone created by the bass and vocals, which add seemingly endless amounts of nightmarish low-end torture. The drumming is a mix of blasts and mid-tempo rhythms that certainly help to build on there already dark atmosphere. Both Jeremy Meier and Fred Avila are really skilled musicians. They switch tack on Black Lacquer, which sounds like it was written in the 90s when death metal was in it’s hay-day thanks to the likes of Grave and Incantation etc. The solo within is glorious and accentuates that earlier point even more.

The brooding clean guitar of The Engineer could possibly be a nod to their thrash forefathers, but whatever, it’s a great bit of relief from the extremity. For those that enjoy a bit of melody, this is stellar and it leads into closing song Chain Ripper, which fights back with pace aplenty. Loads of old-school hair-whipping madness and mosh parts are present. The pair that make it happen are seasoned veterans now (it feels like) but that just makes this demo even better. Caligari has knocked it out of the park again with the tape release, while Abysmalist themselves will have you begging for more. Get on this.

Stream and download "Reflections of Horror" below:-



For tape copies head to Caligari Records here - http://caligarirecords.storenvy.com/.

Caligari Records - https://www.facebook.com/CaligariRecords/

If you want to support the blog, please go to - https://www.patreon.com/thisnoiseisours. Thank you.

Saturday, 5 October 2019

Mental Health In Music: A Musician's Perspective #3 - Andy Curtis-Brignell (Musician of 13+ Years)


This latest instalment of the Mental Health In Music series features UK musician Andy Curtis-Brignell. Andy has been a part of the UK's black metal/noise community for well over a decade and here he shares his experiences and offers realistic advice to those suffering. I just want to personally thank Andy for taking the time to participate in this interview.

1. The idea of this feature is to talk about the problems that musicians face, especially those in DIY or up-and-coming bands. Would you mind talking about your own experiences with mental health?

A. Of course. I have experienced dissociative episodes from the age of 9 or 10, depression from 11, which graduated into a diagnosis of bi-polar disorder with concomitant attachment disorders combined with a previously undiagnosed Autism Spectrum Disorder. I have intermittently suffered from audiovisual hallucinations, mood swings and suicidal ideation my entire life.It has stained and tainted every part of my existence. I often feel as though I am being tortured in Hell.

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2. Being in a band can be an outlet for people to express their feelings and to help them get over certain things in life but do you feel that it can also have a negative effect? If so, what do think these effects can be and are these linked to writing, recording, touring etc?

Until I was correctly diagnosed, music was the only way in which I could express my feelings to anyone. I was locked in. However, I find touring and often simply being in the proximity of other people intensely unpleasant and anxiety-ridden. I have an extremely avoidant personality. It has made doing this as a career....difficult. However, as I said, it is my inspiration. I've had therapy. Lots of therapy. I'm as good as I've ever been. But I am a realist. I do not believe I could now live without my suffering. What would I do? Who would I be? It's a part of me.

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3. How do you deal with things now? Have you got any advice for those who are struggling themselves, musician or otherwise?

I am currently medicated. I try to meditate as often as I can, and have found a lot of comfort and stability in marriage and parenthood after nearly two decades of barely remembered hell. I try to only surround myself with people I love, which means my circle is very, very small. I feel a lot more protected with a couple of people I feel closer with than blood than I do with a crew of hangers-on and false friends, which has previously been the case. I used to trust much too easily. Not any more.

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4. What more do you think can be done in the underground scene or even the wider music scene to support people who may be struggling?

There is, I think, a reliance on the idea that simply talking about things is going to help. In my experience, until there is a clinical, financial and societal infrastructure to support the mentally ill, anything I can say is simply lip service. Be kind to each other. Be kind to yourself as much as you can. That's all I hold on to.

If you are having trouble seeking out support and services that could help you or others, please reach out to Mind at https://www.mind.org.uk/information-support/guides-to-support-and-services/

Thursday, 3 October 2019

Destroyer Destroyer - The Dead Sleep Like Us For A Reason (Re-issue)


Labels: Wax Vessel (Distributed via Pattern Recognition Records)
Formats: Vinyl/Tape/Digital
Release Date: 06 June 19

Tracklist:

1. Dead Weight As Far As The Eye Can See
2. Horse-Drawn
3. Error
4. I'm Tired Of Making You Listen And You Listen Good
5. Chainsodomy
6. 1981-2005
7. Why Isn't Dr. Gregory's Office Open? Because It's Sunday. No It Ain't!
8. Don't Be Ridiculous, Doctor.

2019 could be the labelled as the year that Myspace grind and mathcore finally makes it's resurgence. Things tend to go full-circle and now the technical metal that was considered "too scene" over a decade ago comes back around. Leading the charge alongside Mathcore Index is new US label Wax Vessel, which is bringing re-releasing a number of cult records including the 2006 debut from Destroyer Destroyer, which originally saw the light of day in 2006. I have this on pre-order along with the re-issue of The Heartland's "The Stars Outnumber The Dead", but I couldn't wait much longer before giving this a write-up.

Destroyer Destroyer’s sound was one of intense extremity and fast tempos. Captured once again for this re-issue it shows just how extreme they really were. Opener Dead Weight As Far As The Eye Can See mixes high-pitched screams and with grinding drums, super-low breakdowns and constantly changing polyrhythms. This record was classed as more of an EP when it was first released and you can hear why. Its song lengths are short but DD fits a lot into them. Horse-Drawn starts, stops and swings in many different directions while retaining a structure that eschews melody in favour of fret wizardry. It’s not so much progressive as it is just mad.

This record is utterly mental and when you consider that Error stretches to over five-minutes, you’ll be left either in awe of it or wondering what hell you just stumbled into. The mix of grinding terror and subtle post-hardcore riffs will have you scratching your head for sure. They’re back with a shorter and snappier song next in the form of I’m Tired Of Making You Listen And You Listen Good. I’m not saying that Error didn’t work, because it did, but the shorter more crazed sound seems to suit DD better and the 7-string work throughout it is beastly, as are the rest of the instrumentation and vocals alike.

Chainsodomy starts off the second half all too quickly and is over before you know it. It doesn’t get any easier on 1981-2005, which goes by before you’ve even managed to focus your attention on it. Both songs are mental and the super high-pitched screams on the latter are almost as piercing as those put forth by The Body! You have to laugh at titles like Why Isn’t Dr. Gregory’s Office Open? Because It’s Sunday. No It Ain’t!. It fits the music perfectly though, as DD’s bewildering approach to metal is unbelievable. Again, it’s a piercing song in places but it also contains some great off-kilter passages that at times resemble jazz but then again not so much. 

Closer Don’t Be Ridiculous, Doctor. leaves your head in a spin and your ears ringing with feedback. A fitting way to end this monster of a record. I don’t really know what else to say, except that this may well be one of the most extreme releases that I’ve dared play in my flat for a longtime (especially with neighbours both above and below me). I missed out on it first time round, so getting opportunity to pick a re-issued copy now is great. Vinyl copies are limited to just 200 and tape copies to 110. Grab one while you can!

You can stream "The Dead Sleep..." and grab it digitally or on one of the last remaining 18 tapes via Pattern Recognition Records below:-





This Noise Is Ours Patreon - https://www.patreon.com/thisnoiseisours

Wednesday, 2 October 2019

Chernaa - Empyrean Fire


Labels: Noizr Productions
Formats: CD/Digital
Release Date: 07 Jun 2019

Tracklist:

1. Pink Powder
2. Ominous
3. Alice Syndrome
4. As I Succumbed
5. Mania
6. Camus
7. Discrepancy

My mood isn't great this evening, so hopefully the solace that I get from listening to music will help. As I eluded to a few reviews back, there's so much I have to catch up on and this debut release from Czech post-black metal Chernaa has been sat in my inbox for a while (sorry guys). "Empyrean Fire" was released digitally and on CD via Noizr Productions in June. I've been staring at that mesmerising cover-art for too long, so let's not waste any more time.

Chernaa used album opener Pink Powder as their first single, which was released prior to the full album. It’s a strong song to announce your introduction with, as it’s pummelling percussion, impressive guitar work (from both the bass and the guitars) and the icy shrieks take hold. The whole production and mastering has been delivered with detail in mind and as a result, the music is crisp and powerful. Sometimes, there’s nothing wrong with a bit of polish. Despite its title, Ominous is not actually ominous (sorry). It continues the momentum that was gathered by Pink Powder and adds in plenty more lovely musical textures. There are classy synth touches during the instrumental sections here and it all just works so well. Listenability is something that is sometimes difficult to strive for but Chernaa achieves it here.

By the time Alice Syndrome whirrs into life (if your anything like me), you’ll be in a more reflective state. It must be something to do with the treble-laden guitar riffs. It’s not all laid-back fluffy clouds though, as Chernaa’s black metal isn’t far away and continues to add heaviness to the record. It’s bloody good black metal it has to be said! The post-rock well and truly flows during the beautifully executed As I Succumbed. It’s almost sludge/doom-like atmosphere and riffs become truly emotive, as they extract the same reaction from the listener (I almost lost composure at this point). The clean vocals are perfectly at home here as well. 

From there, Mania is a much more upbeat experience with a tempo that’s as catchy as the melody it shares the recording with. Even the harsh vocals do little to shake off that feeling, as they’re slightly buried within the other elements here. That’s actually quite a masterstroke, as it allows some relief from the extremity for a time, while not losing any of Chernaa’s character in the process.  All of the songs on “Empyrean Fire” are more than just mere three-minute throwaways. They wash over you with such confidence and ease that it’s hard to believe that this is that band’s first release. Penultimate song Camus reiterates that point perfectly, with a juxtaposition of extremity and subtle melody that is more pronounced than you think during the verses, but that takes on a life of its own when allowed to breath.

It’s left to final track Discrepancy to resolutely underline how good this album is, and boy does it do it. 2019 continues to surprise and amaze musically, and you’ll be hard pressed to find a better debut album this year. Chernaa is very much a band to watch. Despite the undertones on offer, their future looks very bright. 

You can stream "Empyrean Fire" and purchase in digitally and on CD below:-



Noizr Productions - https://www.facebook.com/Noizrr/

I also wanted to mention the blog's Patreon page. If you enjoyed this review, it would mean the world to me if you donated to help the blog grow - https://www.patreon.com/thisnoiseisours.